“Remote” backcountry place popular with climbers, backpackers, and fisherfolk.
I write “remote” in quotes because there were easily over 100 cars in the Big Sandy Trailhead parking lot when I arrived. A bit shocking after an hour spent driving in on “Am I in the right place?” kind of dirt roads.
The Trip: Drive (8 Hrs) > hike (5 Hrs) >camp (4 days) > climb 1,000+’ faces (x2) > hike out (4 hrs) > Drive home
My climbing partner is a sponsored athlete for a smartwatch company. Her watch measured all kinds of cool metrics, from atmospheric pressure to total fitness recovery level. But she didn’t even turn it on to measure the GPS track in or out.
So I can’t offer you much except to say, both in & out, it felt pretty far.
The purpose of our visit was to climb some peaks, so we packed in two ropes, a load of protection, shoes & harnesses in addition to all of our camping gear and food for five days. Water, luckily, is abundant in the range, so we filled up and used filtration at natural streams. Still, as you can see from the photo above, the packs were heavy and the trail was long.
We arrived right at sunset, just as the winds shifted and decided to bring us a thick blanket of wildfire smoke. Sadly, it seems this will be the new normal for the American West in summer. We dealt with it last year. We deal with it today. Our children, I fear, will know nothing else.
But in the near past
We camped, we climbed (perfect weather), we rested, and we climbed again. Under mutual agreement, tired & satisfied with our winnings, we left a day early.
Be Mindful Of The Story You Are Telling Yourself
I sit here now, trying to find the story of this trip. A thru-line; a gimmick. An angle to take. I could describe the climbs, certainly — but trip reports in the purest sense bore me to death. We rocked up; we climbed. At times it was scary. We wandered left-to-right across massive rock faces, almost totally lost. At times silly. I carried a loose rock from belay to belay. Often frustrating. We drank strong whisky to animate us for the last pitch. On the summit, a dram more.
Scenes my partner and I have both lived plenty of times.
But the truth may be there is no lesson in this trip. No epic story. No lightning-bright moment of profundity. Just some climbs, a beautiful place, and a good friend. Some golden moments spent in the present, without worry.
This makes for bad content, of course.
But perhaps a good life.
- Don’t trust this guidebook.
- Please bring a bag to poop in.
- Modern dehydrated food has gotten pretty tasty.
- Alpine climbing is hard! Approach it with respect!!
- Photos taken by me or my partner. Bad ones by me, good ones by she.
When your biggest concern for the day is “which meal am I gonna eat?” life is pretty good.